The German Shepherd dog is one of those iconic dog breeds that really doesn’t need all that much of an introduction given the fact that they are one of the most popular dog breeds in all of the United States.
Many households, but also popular within the law enforcement community as well as, search and rescue operations, and contraband detection among many other things.
But just because…
So many other folks have found them to be excellent dogs to own, does that mean that a German Shepherd is going to be “right” for you and your family?
This is the question…
That we hope to answer in this article so that if you’re ever given the opportunity to own one of these excellent creatures, you’ll know for sure if it’s going to be a good fit for you!
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.
German Shepherd Dog Breed Fast Facts
Country of Origin: Germany
Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 70-90 lbs
Lifespan: 13-15 years
Group: AKC Herding Group
German Shepherd Origins
The German Shepherd dog breed is a dog breed that is from Germany, as the name suggests. But what their name may not suggest is that these guys were specifically bred and/or designed to be the “ultimate” shepherd dog.
They were first developed…
By Captain Max von Stephanitz, a German military officer who wanted to breed the perfect dog for police and military work. And his efforts were met with great success.
He was able to…
Develop an exceptional dog breed that was strikingly handsome, very smart, athletic and capable of almost anything. He was so good that he had almost human-level intelligence.
And while these guys…
Retained the “shepherd” roots and remained quite effective dogs on the farm, their natural innate intelligence created opportunities for them beyond the farm into all sorts of different areas, including the military and the police, among other roles.
This earned him the…
Rapid acknowledgments by both The American Kennel Club in 1912 and the development of the first German Shepherd Dog Club of America in 1913.
German Shepherd Dog Breed in America
Given the fact that the German Shepherd dog (GSD) was only really created in 1899, it didn’t take all that long from him to make his way to the United States, because the first appearance of these guys on US soil occurred shortly after in 1906.
But the breed itself…
Didn’t become widely popular in the United States until Hollywood got a “whiff” of one and decided to cast the role of Rin Tin Tin with an exceptional German Shepherd specimen, which helped the German Shepherd dog breed win over the hearts of America.
The GSD was very popular in America…
However, for a while, people forgot about him – perhaps because of the enmity between the United States and Germany during World War II, which made just about “anything German” rather unpopular, even something so great as a German Shepherd!
He was rediscovered in the 1980s, when a GSD by the name of Hatter performed exceptionally well in a dog show held at the Westminster Kennel Club. Hatter was hugely popular with kids and drew a large crowd wherever he went.
Today, the German Shepherd Dog is the second most popular dog breed in the U.S., just behind the Labrador Retriever.
Physical Characteristics of the German Shepherd Dog
The German Shepherd is a tall, large, athletic and muscular dog. He is very sharp, agile and quick footed. He has a distinctive wedge-shaped muzzle, black nose and sharp teeth.
He has dark, almond-shaped eyes, which tell you exactly what he is thinking. He has bushy tails that hang down to the hock. The GSD has a unique double coat usually of the colors tan and black or red and black. Some German Shepherds are all black.
German Shepherd temperament and personality
The German Shepherd makes for a perfect family dog. He is very protective of his human family and could do anything for you. But he is known to get aggressive at times with strangers.
He is also a…
Self-confident dog, very energetic and active. He loves to exercise, and there are few dogs out there in our opinion that can look more handsome than he in full flight!
Great with kids…
The German Shepherd breed is one that is known to bonds very well with kids of any ages. After all, as a member of the herding group, these guys come from a long line of ancestors who have been breed to believe you are a part of his pack, and as such, he or she will protect you with their lives!
As with any dog, and particularly with dogs of this size, training and socialization is very important. The only difference in this situation is that if you decide to attend a group training program, you’re going to want to prepare yourself to stop “showing off” in classes because your German Shepherd is likely going to be the smartest dog in class!
One thing that you…
Might want to look into is a special dog sport called as Schutzhund which was developed to train the dog in obedience, agility and other important skills, all of which your German Shepherd will excel at, because at the end of the day, the German Shepherd is a very active dog.
He hates being…
Left by himself in the yard. He needs someone in the family to be with him, and play with him, at least for a few minutes a day. He also has to get his daily walk, otherwise he can get restless.
This is not…
A lazy dog, who is going to want to sleep all day, which is probably the only factor that might dissuade you from wanting to own a German Shepherd. Because if your ideal dog is one that will just want to lay in your lap or at your feet all day, a GSD is not the right dog for you!
Health Problems Related to the German Shepherd Dog Breed
The German Shepherd is a very healthy breed and has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years. But he is susceptible to quite a few health issues, such as arthritis and other joint problems. He is also known to suffer from a genetic disorder called the Von Willebrand disease, for example.
Here’s a full list of health issues that the German Shepherd could develop….
- Hip Dysplasia
- Osteochondrosis of the Knee/Spine
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat)
- Osteochondrosis of the Shoulder
- Corneal Dystrophy
- Compulsive Behaviors
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Perianal Fistula
- Aortic Stenosis
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Hypertrophic Osteodystrophy
That’s a long list of ailments. Imagine what the vet bills could be if your German Shepherd was to suffer from any of them!
That’s why we always recommend that any German Shepherd owner take a few moments and consider the possibility of purchasing a pet insurance policy on their new dog. This way, if their dog does develop one of these conditions, they won’t be on the hook for 100% of the medical costs.
Now will a pet insurance policy be “right” for everyone?
No, of course not. But unless you have several thousand dollars set aside as a possible emergency fund or “Just in Case,” having a quality pet insurance policy could be a great alternative.
For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies in the industry, feel free to check out Our Best Pet Insurance Companies List.